The last decade has seen employee engagement become a very hot topic – and for a good reason: candidates are now in the market for more than just a job, but for companies that can motivate them and help them grow in their career. 

At Charlie, the company I work for, there’s a big emphasis on improving employee retention and engagement, and we’re big on using HR software to support it

I’m not going to shy away from the fact that our software offers employee engagement features, so you may wonder why I’m writing this guide. 

Not very neutral, is it? 

The reason is that we built software specifically for small businesses and startups, and we want to make sure you get a full round of options when it comes to employee engagement software solutions.  

In my role as Product Manager at Charlie, and through hundreds of hours of interviews, I found out what employee engagement solutions worked best for our customers – that included spending some time researching what other companies on the market do. 

In this guide, I’ll share my tips on what the best employee engagement tools on the market are, and what may be the best fit for your small business or startup. Let’s get started.

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6 Best Employee Engagement Software for Your Business 

Now that you know who we are and what we do, I’ll introduce you to the research I’ve done to get us there.

This includes a few elements I looked at:

  • The kind of features offered by each software when it comes to employee engagement
  • What customers say about it 
  • How much it costs 

This will, hopefully, help you sort out everything else and you’ll soon be ready to start with employee engagement software. Use these links to jump to the sections that are most relevant to you

Employee engagement platform for small businesses and startups

Before you get to the rest of the list, I’d like to introduce our own HR software. These are the benefits you get by using Charlie: 


Customised onboarding flow: cut admin and get team members ready from day one to introduce them to the rest of the team and get them familiar with the organisation


Company handbook: stop being the bottleneck for queries with answers at the ready with your company handbook on the platform


Shoutouts that can integrate with Slack: encourage peer recognition and support each other 


Perks platform and discounts at more than 30,000 brands: give your team the rewards they need at no additional cost


Engagement surveys (and pulse surveys): understand what people want from your business using expert templates, and analyse results to make the right changes

CharlieHR is an all-inclusive HR software — which means you get all in one package, rather than having to pay separately for an employee engagement tool. You can automate all of your HR tasks for a fraction of the cost of getting separate software for performance management, engagement surveys and time off, for example.

With Charlie, you pay based on your company size, starting with as little as £5 per month for small companies of up to 4 team members, and £40 per month if you have between 5 and 14 employees.

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Raoul, Snaphr

"My team love using CharlieHR – it means no more spreadsheets and everything is centralised."


Designed to build a high-performing organisation, Leapsome is great for companies that want to invest in employee engagement – their software covers everything from goals to compensation. 

What you get with Leapsome


Performance reviews and goals set up on the same platform to follow progress and have regular check-ins with your team regarding their progression


Engagement surveys to measure different aspects of your organisation and better understand your team


Learning and development to make sure you nurture new hires and help employees develop in their career


Compensation and promotion to promote transparency and a clear sense of progress


Organisation of meetings through agendas, notes and further actions to take

Who uses Leapsome

  • Spotify
  • Bolt

What people say about Leapsome 

Alexandria-Paul S.

“The most helpful thing about Leapsome is that you can receive and give feedback very easily, and you are in contact with your colleagues at all times. The interface is also super friendly and intuitive. It is by far the best feedback platform I worked with.”

How much does Leapsome cost 

Pricing starts at £8 per month per user – but you’ll need to contact a sales representative for a customised quote. 

Reuniting the pillars of engagement – a.k.a employee engagement, performance management and employee development, CultureAmp has quickly become a reference in terms of employee engagement software.  

What you get with Culture Amp 


Powerful analytics that allows you to make the decisions you need for your team


Ability to predict your turnover and make sure you take action to promote employee retention


1-on-1s managed in one platform where you can check in with your team members through short surveys before having a meeting


Goals and OKR tracking to keep an eye on progress and ensure everyone stays on top of results


Micro-learning opportunities through different channels such as Slack or email


Integrations that make your job easier by having all your tools connected 

Who uses Culture Amp

  • Canva
  • Etsy
  • Intercom

What people say about Culture Amp

Amanda S.

“Culture Amp provides a fairly easy platform with incredibly useful features. Everything they offer is backed by research/psychology so I feel confident using their materials.”

How much does Culture Amp cost 

Pricing depends on different factors: headcount, features and service tier. Contact a sales representative for more information. 

Hibob is an HR platform that focuses a lot of its features on engagement as well as gamification, which is why some companies pick it as an HR software to improve retention and other key metrics. 

What you get with Hibob


HR software with core functions such as onboarding, time off management, document storage and timesheets


Anonymous reporting to help with employee grievances and case management


Engagement surveys and regular check-ins with your team 


Social-media-like dashboard where employees can have a look at what’s new every day 


“Clubs” features that allow employees to connect even when they’re working remotely 


Built-in video feature so new starters can introduce themselves to the team 

Who uses Hibob

  • Adenza
  • ManyPets
  • Heroes

What people say about Hibob 

Ali C.

“We like the homepage with its community feel, where people can post shout-outs and interact with each other. Also, from a user experience, the pre-boarding function is incredibly useful.”

How much does Hibob cost 

Hibob only delivers quotes on a case-by-case basis so you need to contact them to get one. 

Kudos is a simple app that boosts your engagement score – a great tool if you’re just looking for something simple that does the job. 

What you get with Kudos


Meaningful recognition for employees with peer-to-peer messages, nomination programs and employee milestones celebration 


Flexible rewards for your team depending on what you’re looking to offer 


Analytics that help you understand where you could do better in terms of employee satisfaction


Accessible through laptop, tablet and phone 

Who uses Kudos

  • Make A Wish
  • Telarus
  • Werner

What people say about Kudos 

Shana S.

“I love that I can recognise my co-workers for all of the amazing qualities and skills that they bring to the table! We work remotely so it is nice to be able to add a personal touch when sending them a shoutout! I love that you can convert the points to really need gift cards and prizes!"

How much does Kudos cost 

Get in touch with kudos directly to get a quote for your business. 

What makes good employee engagement software for your team? 

There are a few things to consider about what makes a good employee engagement software for your team, and it all depends on what you’re looking for. 

So before you pick one, perhaps make a list of what matters the most to you. Here are a few suggestions to help you along the way:

  • Understand whether you really need to invest in employee engagement software or you need more than that, such as HR software 
  • Set a price range for how much you can afford to pay 
  • Make sure it can integrate with the rest of your HR stack if you choose to go for solely employee engagement software 

Once that’s done, you can maybe book a few demo calls and understand what’s best for your business. 

FAQ for small businesses and startups starting with employee engagement 

Do I need gamification features? 

When you start out, gamification features will likely only do three things: 

  • Create distraction from what you want to achieve (which is saving time on time-consuming HR processes) 
  • Increase the price you pay for software: making it difficult to invest in other areas of the business 
  • Make it more complicated than it ought to be: a lot of gamification features can’t be set up by yourself 

Perhaps you don’t see yourself doing without a lot of gamification features, but from what I gathered from small businesses and startups which went with software that had a lot in the first place, they ended up switching to a simpler product. 

Should I get software that simply focuses on engagement? 

You can, of course, take that path and pick software that has all the engagement features you dream of. 

However, this is likely to be quite a cost for your business, and it’s not necessarily the most efficient way of starting to increase engagement at your company. 

It may be quite overwhelming to suddenly spring on your team a huge change like this one, and it’s not necessarily the case that everyone will use it in such a hands-on approach to HR. 

The first thing you want to achieve in terms of engagement is making sure you don’t have any blind spots – that makes engagement surveys a priority, along with some nice-to-have features such as shoutouts and personalised onboarding. 

Only bigger companies will need more than this. 

What else do I need from HR software? 

Employee engagement surveys are one part of the complete HR stack you need to build to make sure you save all the time you need on HR tasks and focus on other areas of your business. Here’s how you can benefit from HR software: 

  • Stop wasting time with email chains – automate onboarding to have it all in one place and get your new hire to complete their details 
  • Get rid of spreadsheets – get time off management sorted with requests sent by team members and approved or denied in one click with adjusted allowances 
  • No need to search for documents everywhere – get it all in one secured place and comply with the law 
  • Stop worrying about growth and development – simply set up an employee performance review process in a few clicks 

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